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Boarding US-bound Flight with Expired Green Card

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Hi, I am worry sick about this and the research online I have done show very conflicting opinions. Therefore, I am hoping that someone with Real Life Experience may give me some advice.

My Green Card (GC) is expired and I submitted my I-90 renewal application online a few days ago. However, before I realize my GC is expired I had already booked my trip (air and hotel) to Spain leaving the US on 09-18-2016. It is highly unlikely that I will receive my new GC before the trip.

From my research it looks like I shouldn’t have any problem re-entering the US with the expired GC along with the Receipt for my renewal application. However, the problem seems to lie with not US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) but with the airline.

On their website CBP says that

“Please be aware that if your travel plans include air travel, many airlines will not board passengers with an expired green card. To be considered for boarding with an expired Green Card, you must have Notice of Action (Form I-797) verifying that you applied to replace it.”

However, some people say that it is not enough and that the airline will not let you board an US-bound with an expired GC, period, regardless of what BCP says.

If you have any Recent Real Life Experience in a situation like mine, I would really appreciate it if you may share it with me.

Also from my research, it is indicated that the safest way to ensure a trouble-free trip is to get a I-551 stamp on my passport from the USCIS. However, every time I check (that’s multiple times daily) USCIS says there is no appointment available for the coming 14-day period. I am trying to prepare for the worst case scenario because I worry that I can’t get an appointment in time to get the I-551 stamp. I don't want to be stuck in Spain.


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